Two Utah companies have teamed up to win a multimillion- dollar contract for transit projects that will give work to Utahns displaced by defense cuts and bring a hundred new jobs to the state in the next year.
The "transit team," a venture of Springville's FIBERTEK Division of Alcoa Composites and West Valley City's Intermountain Design Inc. (IDI), was awarded the $12.5 million contract by Morrison Knudsen Corporation, Amtrak's prime contractor on a "Viewliner" sleeper-car project. The team will be designing, developing, tooling and manufacturing the composite interior modules for 50 of the cars, and work should begin as early as September, company officials said.Samuel L. Myers, business development manager for FIBERTEK, said the sleeper car and other new transit programs the team is scheduled to work on will bring up to 60 new jobs to his company, and no positions will be filled by bringing people in from out-of-state.
"One of the selling points in the bidding process was the great workforce we have right here in Utah," he said.
Loyd Barney, president and CEO at IDI, said he plans to bring on as many as 40 new workers to participate in the design, tooling and manufacturing phases of the contract.
Both companies will be adding new facilities for the projects, which include options for other diner and coach cars that would make the contracts long term, Myers said.
Every compartment in Amtrak's Viewliner sleeper car will be contructed with pre-fabricated composite componants, Myers said. The process allowslarge molded pieces of fire-resistant, glass-reinforced polymer to be completely assembled and then inserted into the train's shell.
This modular design will also allows for panels to be removed and repaired or replaced without taking the car from the rail, he said.
IDI developed the car's prototype with such a modular design more than seven years ago, and Myers and Barney agree the move to composite polymer design is the wave of the future.
Myers said despite cut-backs on some defense projects that have moved FIBERTEK from 98 percent aerospace defense work to 50 percent on trains, the work will keep coming as the benefits of modular design are realized.